YOLO in Colorado

This is how I feel, especially when I’m out exploring this state!

 

Our oldest and dearest couple friends and their two teenage daughters came to visit Hubs and I recently. This visit was so very good for our souls. The four of them are virtually world travelers, especially compared to us. They are curious, adventurous folks with seemingly boundless energy.  And this was the first time they’d visited Colorado together. We visited places here that Hubs and I had yet to see. Like an indoor hot springs spa in Idaho Springs and that famous and crazy Casa Bonita restaurant restaurant in Denver. Fans of South Park may recall an episode highlighting this unique place. We even partook on a tour of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining”, as well as a general reputation for being haunted.

Let’s just say this visit with our friends energized us in a major way. 

This visit coupled with my suspicion that our days living in this great state are likely numbered (I’d guess somewhere between 444 and 888, but hey, I’m no psychic), inspires me to embrace that beautiful concept and not to mention fun acronym, “YOLO”.

That said, it’s clearly time for Hubs and I  to start thinking about planning the places we want to go and experiences we want to enjoy while we still live in Colorado. There are so  many of them!

Such as….

A concert at Red Rocks

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With a little luck, we will be closer to the stage than this photographer was!

I actually think it may be somewhat beside the point which musical artist we come here to see. The scenery and acoustics are going to be the main draw for me.

A trip to an outdoor hot springs  spa. Where Hubs and I will partake in a couples massage and I will succeed at convincing him to get  pedicures together. I suspect he will enjoy this as much as I do.

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Once I get in this, I may never want to get out!

Grand Junction

This is considered Colorado’s wine country and yes, I do enjoy my wine. Beyond the adult beverage scene, there are numerous sites to behold there, like the Colorado National Monument and hiking trails I’ve been checking out online.

Moab, Utah: while it’s not actually in Colorado, it is merely a day’s drive away and features so much natural beauty. Hubs will need to bring his Nikon.

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A place to meditate in Moab, perhaps after a hike

 

Next winter, I’d like to take a ride on the Winter Park train and spend the weekend dog sledding and sampling craft beers in a cozy mountain cabin. I realize this area is known for wicked good skiing, but I value my limbs too much so I think we’ll skip that part.

 

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A cozy little cabin for us to enjoy.

 

We might just need to continue living in Colorado beyond 888 days to cross everything off the list!

 

Mid-Week Random Ramblings

I have got so many ideas of things I want to write about swimming about in my head right now. And as I have mentioned in previous posts, I am an over-thinker. Which means I have a tendency to be indecisive.

What does this mean to me, today, right here, right now? I think it means that I need to go random with this particular post. Bear with me, patient readers. Once I get this out of my system, I will be able to put the final touches on the next couple of one-topic posts I’ve got waiting for me in my draft folder. 

True story: On Monday,  I didn’t allow my driving anxiety to get the better of me. I actually drove myself through Denver for a work meeting and then home afterwards on I-25 just at the beginning of rush hour.  I told myself that I could pull over at any time but I didn’t end up doing that even once. Heart pounding, palms sweating, mind racing, I pushed through and stayed the course. And I got home in one piece. Driving anxiety truly sucks, but now (here’s me being brave) it no longer means I won’t drive on I-25 or any other freeway for that matter. Not anymore. Gone are the days when I purposefully map out my route to avoid all freeways. I just have to accept that the anxiety may creep in and try to mess with my head. And keep moving forward in spite of it.

Later today,  I’m getting a major hair cut and color done by my lively, one-of-a-kind hairdresser, Angel. I’m bound to give myself whiplash from flicking my head back and to the side to keep my bangs out of my eyes if I don’t. I’ve had essentially the same haircut and style now for the better part of two years and with summery temps on the horizon, I think it’s time to go even shorter and lighten things up.

On a totally unrelated note, I’ve been thinking that it’d be some sweet justice if the con-man/bully/hypocritical/liar/fool-in-chief (no need to name names here, right?), ends up being taken down by a woman, or shall I say women, that he has undoubtedly wronged. This would further cement by belief in karma. I mean, something has got to happen for this all to come to an end right? I’d much prefer it be because of his lecherous, immoral, and sexist behavior (and of course because Mueller and his team have got enough to prosecute for obstruction of justice and God only knows what else)  than a nuclear war. Just saying.

I was awestruck this past weekend watching some of the speeches given by high school students at the March for Our Lives. Their poise and passion blew me away. Emma Gonzales will go down in  history as the voice of this movement, largely because of her purposeful, meaningful speech, which included a long period of silence equal to the amount of time it took for the gunman to kill 17 people at her high school on Valentine’s Day. I pray that we will see some common sense gun legislation very soon. All of our kids deserve this.

I’m really digging the new book I’m reading about finding your soul song playlist. The writer, Jessica Myler, points out that all of those self-help books that so many of us read focus on thinking positive thoughts. Which is all good and fine, but, as she notes (and I am paraphrasing here), feelings need to go hand in hand with these thoughts to be powerful enough to manifest true happiness. This concept really clicks with me. From my perspective, it’s all about the way the words and the melodies work in tandem to evoke emotions which inspire and energize me to create, to communicate, and to be a force for positive change.

I’m feeling that a blog post about my Google playlists will be coming soon. Or one about dieting and food. Or one about travel. I hope you all will stay tuned.

Happy Hump Day!

 

 

Expanding my Horizons

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This past weekend,  I attended a “Metaphysical Fair” with my girlfriend here in Colorado. Hubs sarcastically referred to it as a “Satanic Convention”, but I assured him that this not the case. I explained to him that attending this event was my way of expanding my horizons, trying something new.

Truthfully, my primary objective in attending this event was to actually do something I’ve always wanted to do: partake in a psychic reading.

There were a multitude of psychic/mediums/tarot card readers/clairvoyants sitting behind card tables along the periphery of the venue. I walked around, checking them out while asking myself in my head of course “how does one pick their first medium/psychic/tarot card reader/clairvoyant?” Was there some kind of strategy that I should be employing? It hadn’t occurred to me prior to this event to give any thought to this. So, I strolled around, sizing each one of them up.

There were the ones that looked the part: bejeweled women on the other side of 60 with colorful attire and wreaths atop their noggins. There were others that looked like they could be your next-door neighbors or your kid’s best friends mom or dad.

I ended up picking a friendly looking white dude around my age who had the word “Thunder” in his name. I approached this whole scenario with an open mind, sprinkled with just a pinch of skepticism. He almost immediately pegged me as a “planner”. That observation didn’t necessarily impress me, as a middle aged white woman donning her green sweater and emerald jewelry she rarely wears because she obviously planned her attire for St. Patrick’s Day. 

He then mentioned that after holding my hands in his for approximately 2 minutes and 8 seconds that he sensed I had lost someone who had a habit of massaging the back of my hair and neck. Nope, I told him. Could not think of anyone who habitually did this to me.  He told me that it may come to me later who it is. We shall see.

But then.

This gentle, friendly psychic/tarot card reader directed me to pick 5 cards from an array of large tarot cards, each depicting it’s own unique artwork. He then flipped them over. The first card revealed that I was a healer. He asked if I worked in the medical profession. I told him I didn’t per se, but for much of my professional career I have served clients that had physical and mental disabilities. So he wasn’t too far off.  Then he pointed to another card and said he could sense that I would have the aptitude for something called “Akashic records”. This is what struck me. Though I have no clue what this term means (he strongly urged me to look it up which I intend to do soon),  Hubs fraternity, the place that had it not existed I may in fact never have even met Hubs, was called “Acacia”. Say what?!

He also mentioned that he sensed I lost someone who struggled with back pain, possibly kidney trouble. As he did this, he placed his hand in the middle part of the left side of his back. I told him that it was me, as for years now I’ve struggled with pain in that exact spot. He told me he didn’t sense this was anything serious, but that I should lay off the junk food and drink more water. While I admit this directive may have been a result of him noticing  my spare tire, I feel it is very good advice that I shall heed.

One of the other cards that I randomly picked was “long term”. He explained that he felt I should stop feeling guilty and start thinking long term. Honestly, the statement about guilt struck me because as a people pleaser, guilt is a state in which I have lived for much of my life. He said I need to “get the ball rolling” and not get so caught up in how things are going to turn out. Kind of a general, solid piece of advice for just about anyone. However, I think this clearly applies to my blogging. It was a reminder to me to stop overthinking and/or trying to force the words out of my brain and onto my computer screen.

While I’m pleased with my first experience with a psychic/tarot card reader because he essentially told me what I needed to hear and expressed an understanding of who I am as a person, perhaps the best thing that came out of this experience was a book I picked up there.  I’ve been telling myself that I’ve been neglecting my “song brain” in my blog posts for a while now and I swear this book literally had my name on it.

It’s titled “Soul Song Playlist: How to rethink your favorite music and manifest your dreams”.

I’ll be delving into it as soon as I finish “The Bedwetter:  tales of Courage, Redemption and Pee”, by Sarah Silverman. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

For the kids

One of my Facebook friends shared the address for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, urging everyone to write a letter to the students. I knew right away that this is something I could do. It’s actually the least I could do.

Question for myself is what will I say?

I will surely offer my condolences. Offer my support. Ask how we as adults can specifically support them. I want to urge them to not grow weary of the fight; to soldier on despite the crap the jerks of this world may try to throw at them. Urge them to practice self-care so they can stay emotionally strong. These kids have been foisted into the spotlight, due to an event that they never in a million years could have imagined happening to them. Heck, I read that Parkland, Fl was actually voted the safest city in Florida in 2017. I can’t imagine the shock this was to the entire community.

I believe with the right encouragement from their elders as well as their peers, fighting for common sense gun control could just be the beginning. Our society is sick; there’s an underlying mental health crisis that needs to be comprehensively addressed. Coming up with solid steps to address our nation’s mental health crises may just be the next thing these kids could tackle.

As I’ve been reading online, the kids of MSD high school-actually all the high school kids today-they’re smart. They are savvier with social media than the rest of us. Social media is the primary tool with which they work to affect change. I think it’s important to encourage them to continue to use this powerful tool in a thoughtful, strategic manner. Now this is obviously the parent in me coming out, but I worry what will become of these kids from MSD High School. Will some of them take advantage of their sudden fame and sell out to become famous douchebags with their own YouTube channel? Will some of them crash and burn in other ways due to the stress of trying to change the world? That’s the stuff I worry about. I want these kids to keep their wits about them. I wish for them to stay health, to stay strong.

Isn’t that what we should all be wishing for?

My letter may not make a lick of difference to these kids. However, perhaps if we, as their elders, all commit to penning letters, signing petitions, providing support in financial ways, and casting our ballots for political candidates who we believe will support legislation that actually advances these kids’ causes, great changes may come to fruition.

Please join me in writing letters to and for these kids. It’s a good start, don’t you think? And it really is the least we can do right now.

Hindsight: Memories from a Grateful Daughter

I’m struggling here. If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed that since the beginning of this year, the frequency of my posts has decreased. There’s valid reasons for that. Life. And death.

You see, my Dad passed away on 2/18/18. It actually happened. There’s no ‘how to’ book on how to prepare for this inevitability-that your parents will one day die. But there’s also no way around it. As “they” say, no one gets out of here alive.

My Dad was the best. I paid tribute to him on my my Father’s Day post last year, knowing that it very well may be his last Father’s Day here on this earth. Now that it’s been a few days since the funeral, and Hubs and I are safe and sound back home in Colorado, I see that there are things that went unsaid, on my part, during the chaos that was this past week and a couple of days. Chaos including traveling by car for several days in inclement winter weather to reach my hometown. Chaos including making travel arrangements for our youngest spawn to be there. Chaos including helping our oldest spawn keep her 4 year old entertained. Chaos including helping my sister with picking the “right” pictures to display on the boards she bought at the hardware store.

But we got through it. As my sister whispered in my Dad’s ear during his final hours and I tearfully conveyed to him on the phone the day before he passed, “We will all be okay. Mom will be okay too”. I hope that he took that in, internalized it. I hope it gave him the piece of mind he needed to allow himself to peacefully surrender to the next dimension.

The beautiful thing is that the memories of my Dad will remain. And there are so many precious ones. We will hang on to those memories for the rest of our lifetimes. These memories are blessings.

So while driving through boring old Nebraska, on our way home this weekend, I gave some thought to the things that, to me, made my Dad the special man and father he was. The things that went unsaid, by me, while among my family during this sad and chaotic time.

Let me share just a few….

Dad loved to “bullshit”. As in, telling jokes and stories in his booming voice to elicit wonder and laughter to those fortunate enough to be there. Anyone who ever knew him would certainly agree he was an excellent person to “shoot the shit” with.

Dad had a great talent for sleeping. I am grateful that I inherited this trait. He could literally fall asleep anywhere. No matter how much noise was going on around him. And he was such a deep sleeper that it would take at least 6 separate tries for me to wake him up in the afternoons to go to work (his second full time job).

Dad was a great American citizen. He served proudly in the Korean war. When I was a kid, my teacher gave us a lesson on nationalities. I went home and asked Dad what my nationality and and his reply was “You’re 100% American, Rhoda Joda”. Of course, Mom gave me the real answer, which was French/German. It was just that important to my Dad that I took pride in and appreciated being an American.

Dad had great affection for small creatures. He routinely referred to our Lhasa Apso, Max, as “your brother”. After Max become older and his health failed, Dad had him put down. It broke his heart in a million pieces. He kept a framed photo of Max on his bedside table from that point on.

Dad was the best dining partner. He appreciated his food. Except when he didn’t. Then he would remark that it was “horseshit”, and we would all snicker.  He wasn’t a man to mince words, that’s for sure. He certainly was not a cook; but sometimes in the evenings, I would find him in our little kitchen, mixing a package of dried onion soup mix in with a carton of sour cream, which we would dip our “Old Dutch” potato chips in while watching t.v. He would be the keeper of the chip dip, and sometimes when I’d reach over for more, he’d tease me by covering it over with his hands and giving me this look, conveying “It’s all mine!”

Dad had great posture. He wasn’t a big guy by any means; he was more in the category of “stout”. But he had broad, strong shoulders. And he always had a confident stride, with his shoulders up and back, looking straight ahead. He often reminded me to “stand up straight”.

At my elementary school, which was almost literally a hop, skip, and jump from our house, every spring, dandelions would dot the lawn outside. Most people consider these weeds (which I realize they technically are) and would mow them down. Dad would always comment how pretty they were, and how he didn’t understand why anyone would want to get rid of them (of course he mowed them down when they appeared in our yard as I recall, to appease my mother).

I am looking forward to visiting my family in Minnesota with Hubs this summer, when I can go through his belongings and reminisce. When we can gather with extended family and share our stories about my very special Dad and truly celebrate his great life and the positive impact he left on ours.

 

For the love of couple friendships

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Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel. These two couples were the best of friends. Growing up in northern Minnesota, my parents had their own Fred and Ethel. This couple featured heavily in my childhood. In fact, they were my godparents. They were as close to blood relation to us as they could be. We frequently shared meals, many of them impromptu, together. They and my parents had such a closeness, that it was not unusual for them (or my parents) to “pop in” for visits w/no prior notification. And no matter what was going on they always welcomed each other.

I think as we go through life as couples, the friendships we develop with other couples can be priceless. These friendships can help us to avoid getting stuck in a boring rut of relying on only each other for entertainment and friendship. They can help us to appreciate each other more, as one half of the other couple may have an annoying habit or two.  Like “She” is a loud chewer. Or “He” always shares obscure jokes that always go over my head. In my experience, these special friendships can provide hilarious memories to recall together as the years pass.

Hubs and I had a good thing going on back in Wisconsin. We enjoyed an active social life and had numerous memorable times with our couple friends. Gratefully, we are just now beginning to develop some new couple friendships here in Colorado.

Because I miss them all so much and want to pay homage to them, and because it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t want to do the normal thing and gush on about romantic love on my blog, I’m going to tell you all a little bit about some of our beloved couple friends from back home in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Couple #1: They are younger than us by about 10 years, and share our interests in cooking good food and drinking craft beer and good quality wine. One time, we invited them along with their two youngins over for supper. While I was busy in the kitchen chopping up onions for the salad and they were hanging in the three season porch with Hubs, I accidentally sliced the tip of my finger about halfway off. Of course, blood was gushing everywhere and I freaked out. Hubs drove me to the ER, while our friends stayed behind. We anticipated that they would end up going home, heck we even gave them permission, but they surprised us and were still at our house almost 2 hours later, after having finished making the entire meal.

Couple #2: They are a childless couple who are around 10 years older than us. They are faithful Christians and are the only people we always pray with before eating whatever gourmet food she has cooked for us. He makes his own never-fails-to-be-delicious wine and craft beer, which he shares generously. He is also a master gardener who once shared magnolia shoots with us, which later grew to be a beautiful tree in the front yard of the first home we lived in in Wisconsin.

Couple #3: This couple is the closest we have to our own Fred and Ethel. Trouble is, throughout the years we have rarely lived less than an hour from each other. Of course, that means the time we spend together, while infrequent, is especially precious. The night I first met Hubs I was with her. The night she met her husband I was with her as well. We were in each other’s weddings. We have gone on camping adventures together, back when we were all still young and newly married. We also, years later, enjoyed a camping weekend with all of our kiddos (we both had two, just many years apart). They are the friends we include in biological family gatherings. Their daughters were in our oldest daughter’s wedding. They came and helped us clean out our apartment when we had toddlers and were moving several hours away. These two are the friends of a lifetime.

Couple #4: He was Hubs first roommate in college. She was a “townie” in the college town we lived and studied in for 4 + years. We have had shenanigans galore with these two. Like the two New Year’s Eve’s in a row when the four of us were out celebrating and won big on pull tabs.  “She” almost knocked Hubs over, jumping into his arms with glee after the first win.

Fortunately for Hubs and I, we have even more of these couple friendships in our lives. And we treasure each and every one of them.

Do you and your spouse/significant other have your own Fred and Ethel? I would so love to hear about them!

DWTS Love: Next season’s star picks

I recognize that some of you may not be familiar with the acronym in the title of this blog post. For those people, it stands for “Dancing with the Stars”. This show is my not so guilty pleasure. And a new season is coming soon.

I believe DWTS is the best reality show ever. You’ve got three very different judges, all with years of dancing experience. You’ve got very attractive, talented, professional dancers. You’ve got two affable hosts, Erin Andrews and Tom Bergeron. And of course, you’ve got the “stars”.

I believe the creators of this show use the term “stars” rather loosely. But no matter; the “stars” I enjoy watching the most are the ones that I have not necessarily ever heard of. The ones that have a little spunk.  The ones that have actual dancing abilities or the clear potential to develop them.  Think Kelly and Jack Osbourne (two different seasons). Or Ricki Lake. Or MMA star Paige VanZant. From the most recent season, my favorite contender was the actor Frankie Muniz. He was a revelation. He was so relatable which made him easy to root for.  His confidence and talent increased exponentially each week. Of course, the teen idol from the Disney channel, Jordan Fisher, won-but hey, he was absolutely terrific so I wasn’t too terribly disappointed.

I’m especially enthralled with DWTS when there’s obvious sexual chemistry going on between the professional dancer and the “star”. That just takes the show to a whole other level. Like these two:

Heads up: this is the part of this post where I’m going to play as if I’ve been hired to pick the next batch of “stars” to dance their ways into our hearts on DWTS. Because that could happen, right? Ha ha!

I recently learned that the upcoming season of DWTS is going to feature professional athletes. This makes coming up with a slate of epic contenders challenging for me, a woman who pays minimal attention to professional sports. But  as a die hard fan of this show, I’m going to take a stab at it anyway.

Troy Aikman, former NFL star and current NFL commentator. Image result for troy aikman images

He’s quite a good looking guy who I am certain has some dancing ability courtesy of his football playing days. I’d pair him with Sharna. I could see them performing a wonderful Vienesse waltz together.

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Serena Williams: Now who wouldn’t root for this woman? She is without a doubt a phenomenal tennis player, and I heard recently that she’s not planning to play in the next big tennis tournament. Australian Open maybe? Anyway, she recently gave birth to her first baby. There is a history on DWTS of female “stars” joining the cast after giving birth. Well, maybe not directly after giving birth. That would just be wrong on so many levels.

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Serena would totally rock those glitzy costumes DWTS puts the stars in, right? I’d pair her with that sexy beast Maks.

Tonya Harding: The disgraced former Olympic ice skater would certainly have the right moves and the determination to go all the way. Although I would hate to see her hit poor old Len in the shins if he gave her some negative criticism. Maybe I should scratch that idea. It would not surprise me in the least if she ended up on this upcoming season, however. The movie chronicling the attack on her competitor Nancy Kerrigan (herself an alumni of DWTS), from her perspective (I, Tonya-which I only want to see because of the amazing actor Alisson Janney) is getting lots of buzz, so for sensationalism’s sake I bet they do it. I mean, they did it before, with this douchebag.

David Beckham, professional soccer player/model/Mr. Posh Spice:  Boy, he’d be a bid draw, right? I mean, just look at him! There’s no doubt he’d have some wicked dancing skills.

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Without a doubt, I’d pair him with the gorgeous and talented Peta.

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Michael Phelps, a swimming phenomenon and most decorated Olympian of all time. He would be a fun pick. He does appear to be all arms and legs, so dancing may be a challenge for him. But as a professional competitive swimmer, I suspect he’d be up for the challenge.

 

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I think he’d be best paired with the fun loving Aussie dancer Emma Slater.

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Danica Patrick, professional race car driver: I really think she would be fantastic. She’s got that competitive spirit and she is drop dead gorgeous.

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I think the obvious choice for her dancing partner would be this handsome dancing devil. I would love to see the two of them tango their way to winning that Mirror Ball trophy.

I don’t know that DWTS fans will be lucky enough to have any of these athlete/stars on our screens this spring, but I will be anxiously awaiting to find out who will be cast.

In the meantime, dear readers, I would get some major enjoyment from any opinions you may have about future DWTS contenders that you want to see salsa-ing, cha-cha-ing, or paso doble-ing with the epically talented professional dancers on this show, whether they are athletes or not. Come on, play some “fantasy DWTS” with me!

Tales from a 50 year old optimist recently transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff

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